This academic year, we are delighted to be adding to our shelves in the Main Library around 2000 books from the donated collection of Professor Alex Danchev.
We are very grateful to Dr Delia Danchev for gifting this collection to us. Together with these books, material including notes and letters to the Library were also donated and the funding for two staff project posts: one archival post and the other a Library traineeship. These posts enable us to record and make the Danchev Collection available for consultation and borrowing.
Alex Danchev was Professor of International Relations here at the University of St Andrews from 2014 until 2016, when he passed away unexpectedly. He was well known for his wide-ranging work in modern and military history, politics, and biography, as well as his strong interests in art, literature, and philosophy. Prior to coming to St Andrews in 2014, his career had taken him from officer in the Royal Army Education Corps, through a PhD in war studies at King’s College London, to posts at Keele University and Nottingham University, with visiting fellowships at Queen Mary University of London, and St Antony’s College, Oxford.
The books which have been donated from his library are a hugely valuable addition to our collections. We are able to add a wealth of new material across a very broad range of subject areas, which will benefit students of a large number of courses and enhance the research of our academic community. Students of IR and modern history will be well served by a range of new texts on terrorism studies, Anglo-American relations, military intelligence and espionage, the World Wars, the Cold War, wars in the Falklands, in the Balkans, Iraq, and Afghanistan, to name just a few areas. An addition to wide ranging histories, we’re also gaining a large number of biographies, diaries, and letter collections. These give insight into individual figures in the worlds of politics, art, music, and science, ranging from Robespierre to Rumsfeld.
Students of art and photography will benefit from new catalogues and works of criticism being added to our shelves, including a number of volumes on political art and war photography. As well, our literature collection is being enhanced by new novels, poetry compilations, essay collections, graphic novels, and volumes of literary criticism. We’re even adding a number of DVDs!
You’ll be able to recognise an item which has come from the library of Professor Alex Danchev by the bookplate affixed in the front:
The majority of books from this gift collection are not already held in our collection, which is exciting because it means we are gaining a large amount of new material! You’ll be seeing lots of these additions throughout the year on our New Books display on Level 2.
There are also two others ways in which the gift collection helps enhance our resources:
- Multiple copies – If we already have the book and there is high demand for it, we can add an additional copy from the gift collection. This means that you’re far more likely to be able to access a copy of the book, even when everyone else on your course is also looking for it! Multiple copies with their shorter loan times make resources easier to get your hands on.
- Replacements – If we already have the book, but it’s looking a bit worse for wear, we may be able to use the gift copy as a replacement. Those of our books which are most highly used endure the most wear and tear, so replacing damaged items is a wonderful opportunity to rejuvenate some of the most in-demand items in our collection.
As well as books, the University is fortunate to have been gifted Professor Danchev’s papers. These are currently being sorted and catalogued in Special Collections, where they will form part of our archives. Alex Danchev kept extensive handwritten notes, newspaper clippings, and reviews, amongst a wealth of other material. His papers will be a great resource both to those studying his life and work, and to those sharing his research interests. You can view the catalogue entry for his papers – and watch out for more details of the collection and a display in the Main Library concourse coming soon!
Liz Antell, Library Trainee